Home Government and Politics Israel closes the Temple Mount to Jews until the end of Ramadan

Israel closes the Temple Mount to Jews until the end of Ramadan

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Israeli security forces escort a group of religious Jews, as they visit the Temple Mount on Yom Kippur, September 19, 2018. (Sliman Khader/Flash90)

Tel Aviv/TEH: A Hebrew channel said, on Tuesday evening, that the political leadership in Israel had decided to close the Temple Mount to “Jewish visitors”, from Friday until the end of Ramadan.

The Israeli government did not issue an official statement confirming what was reported by the seventh channel, “Arutz Sheva” until the time (21:15 GMT).

The channel said that the government decided that “Jews will not be able to enter the Temple Mount from Friday until the end of the month of Ramadan.”

The talk is about a regular procedure every year, in the last ten days of Ramadan when the Israeli government prevents settlers’ incursions into Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Activists from the Israeli far-right told the channel that the previous closure period was a maximum of 3-4 days, instead of 12 days as currently planned.

However, a source close to Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said that in all recent years, the Temple Mount compound was closed to Jews in the last ten days of Ramadan, according to the same source.

He noted that last year, under Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, the Temple Mount was closed for 19 days.

For his part, the Israeli Minister of Regional Cooperation, Issawi Frej, said in a tweet on his Twitter account that “The decision to prevent non-Muslim visitors from entering Al-Aqsa Square, from this coming weekend until the end of Ramadan, is the right decision at this time.”

He considered that the Israeli government’s decision aims to calm the atmosphere in Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, extremist Knesset (parliament) member Itamar Ben Gvir, head of the “Jewish Power” party, said on Twitter that if the news of the closure of the Temple Mount was true, “Bennett raised the white flag tonight.”

For days, tension has prevailed in Jerusalem and the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque, in light of daily incursions and calls by Israeli settlers and Jewish “temple groups” to continue storming the mosque, coinciding with the Jewish Passover, which began on Friday and lasts for a week.